I’m sitting here behind the computer on a Tuesday morning coordinating a few things. On my left, I have ESPN on, and they have a Venus Williams match on from Wimbledon, against some Russian lady I don’t know who goes “Whoop!” every time she serves. As I typed this article, Williams won her match and moved into the semifinal round of the ladies tournament.
I’m old enough (46 years old on September 6th) to remember a time when Wimbledon wasn’t aired live in the United States at all, but tape delayed. This was done mainly for two reasons, one being that there was a five hour time difference between the eastern US and the UK. Secondly, ESPN didn’t start up until September of 1979, so if you wanted to see sports, you saw them when the networks wanted you to see them. Very few events were carried “live via satellite” from other parts of the world because it was a relatively new technology, and probably had a bit of a price tag to it in terms of cost.
The seven year old version of myself was probably expecting to see an array of cartoons on the Saturday morning of July 7th, 1979. Instead, my Dad told me that we’d be watching the men’s championship match of Wimbledon starting at 9:00 that morning on Channel 8, our NBC station here in Tampa Bay. Bjorn Borg, the reigning king of tennis from Sweden, outlasted Roscoe Tanner in five sets to take his fourth straight title that day.
I sure I asked my Dad why they were planning so early, and that he explained to me the whole thing about time zones, which probably lit a few cartoonized light bulbs in my head. Funny what you learn when you learn other things.